It's not easy walking the streets of Cincinnati without bumping into someone who knows Jerry Judd.
When Judd was 3, his parents were killed in an automobile accident. People knew his father, Bob, a star athlete who played football for Xavier University in the 1950s. So when the senior Judd and his wife, Shirley, died, leaving behind three girls and two boys, the tragedy made local headlines.
"A lot of people knew our family background," acknowledges Judd, who is now vice president of treasury services at Denver-based Cath-olic Health Initiatives.
Judd and his brother were raised in the Buckeye State along with three other boys by Joan and Don Schmitt, themselves familiar figures in town. The Schmitt-family patriarch owns Shur-Good Biscuit Co., a cookie and snack distributor with annual sales of $30 million. Schmitt also owned a private swim club where, for 10 summers, Jerry worked along with his brothers. Although his sisters were raised separately, the close-knit families made sure they all spent time together.
"I could have gone down a different path and could have been a lot less fortunate," Judd reflects. "I think part of my success today is actually attributable to their upbringing."
At 34, Judd has packed more into his career than many healthcare finance veterans. A graduate of Notre Dame, he early on received his certification as a public accountant. In one three-year clip, he landed a job as a financial analyst at Sisters of Charity Health System in Cincinnati, quickly moved up through the ranks to director of treasury services, and snapped up a master's degree in business administration by attending night school.
Fresh out of business school, Judd was persuaded by his former boss and mentor, Robert Halonen, to get his certification as a chartered financial analyst, or CFA, the investment professional's equivalent of the certification of public accountants. It takes three years of sequential testing to pass the rigorous exam, and when Judd began the process, he had 4-month-old twins at home and $200 million of investment assets under his watch at work. That total rose to $1.2 billion by the end of 1996.
"This is where his mentoring really pushed me," says Judd, who earned the certification in 1995. "I do feel very proud of that because there aren't that many CFA CPAs."
Judd was whisked into his current post in Denver after Sisters of Charity merged with two other systems to become Catholic Health Initiatives. Today he manages $2.5 billion of assets for the 68-hospital system. In recent months, that's involved consolidating and orchestrating the combined systems' cash, investments and debt. This fall CHI will sell $900 million of bonds in a major refinancing and restructuring of old debt.
"This was a pretty significant jump for me," says Judd of his current job, which he started last December. He expects to stick with it at least another three to five years but ultimately may look to become a chief financial officer somewhere.
Having cut his financial teeth as an Arthur Andersen auditor of manufacturing, transportation and financial service companies, Judd is prepared to make the leap. And he's come a long way since his early years at Sisters of Charity, which he spent "getting (his) feet wet" in healthcare finance.
For now, though, Judd, wife Leigh and their four kids are exploring Denver's outdoor life. Judd misses his hometown but visits friends and family in Cincinnati. And when he and Halonen get together, they hit the golf course. "Every once in a while I give him a little bit of a run," Judd says.